"You are blessed with so much talent. You can see the ball a split second earlier than me..." was how legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar described the batting prowess of his 'favourite' former teammate VVS Laxman during the 1999-2000 Australia tour, reveals a new book "Sachin@50: Celebrating a Maestro".
The story, narrated by former Indian cricketer MSK Prasad in the book, was from a conversation between Prasad, Laxman and Sachin on their favourite players in the then Indian Team touring Australia.
While Prasad, who was also part of the team, said he liked Rahul Dravid, Saurav Ganguly and VVS Laxman; Tendulkar, who was captain of the then Indian team, declared Laxman as his favourite player.
"If you don't smile and show your teeth, I'll say you are my favourite player," said Tendulkar to the always smiling Laxman who thought the Master Blaster was simply making fun of him.
But Tendulkar wasn't. He even elaborated on the reasons for picking the stylish middle-order batsman as his favourite player among the likes of Dravid, Ganguly and several others.
"You are blessed with so much talent. You can see the ball a split second earlier than me. God has given you exceptional talent which you are not able to understand," said Tendulkar as recounted by Prasad in the book, which has who's and who of the sporting world sharing their experiences with the legend himself.
Tendulkar, dubbed as the 'God of Cricket', as per the conversation, said unlike Laxman, god gave him the "minimum talent" which he was "maximising".
"I have four gears in my batting -- defence, push, drive and loft. I understand the conditions and use my logic and perform accordingly. You have so much talent that you can straightway bat on fourth gear. You see the ball so early that you don't worry about the conditions.
"That way, sometimes you click, and sometimes you fail. The day you realise the value of the first three gears, you will become a legend of the game," he explained.
A tribute to the global sporting phenomenon, "Sachin@50: Celebrating a Maestro" features essays and pieces by well-known figures, including Tendulkar's family -- wife Anjali Tendulkar and elder brother Ajit Tendulkar -- and cricket legends Sunil Gavaskar, Sourav Ganguly, Harbhajan Singh and Rohit Sharma.
The book, published by Simon & Schuster India, will be officially launched on the occasion of Tendulkar's 50th birthday on Monday.
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